The World's Longest Traffic Jam: A 100km, 12-Day Standstill in China

In August 2010, China witnessed the creation of the mother of all traffic jams, an epic event that unfolded over 12 agonizing days. The chaos extended over an astonishing 62 miles (100 km), marking it as the longest traffic jam in recorded history. As vehicles came to a standstill along the China National Highway 110, a makeshift economy emerged, offering overpriced essentials like food, water, and cigarettes.

World's worst traffic jam: 100km and 12 days

Stranded Survival: A Mini-Economy Emerges Amid Hunger and Thirst

This unprecedented gridlock occurred between Hebei and Inner Mongolia, affecting thousands of vehicles and drivers. The stranded individuals endured days of hunger and thirst, turning their vehicles into temporary shelters. Opportunistic vendors took advantage of the situation, selling instant noodles at four times their regular price and water at an exorbitant tenfold markup.

China National Highway 110: The Ground Zero of the Epic 100km Gridlock

What made this colossal traffic jam unique was its origin. Unlike closures or natural disasters, the bottleneck was simply a consequence of an overwhelming number of vehicles congesting the road. Heavy trucks laden with construction supplies bound for Beijing, ironically dispatched for road work aimed at alleviating congestion, played a significant role in exacerbating the situation. The stranded drivers could only inch their vehicles forward by a mere 1 km (0.6 mi) per day, turning this extraordinary event into an enduring testament to the challenges of managing traffic on a massive scale.
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